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  • Mario Mainland

Book Idea - Dante's Gate

I found this story some random night in November 2020.

Or, more aptly, it found me, somewhere on that vast grey border between the real world and the murky dream landscape that still shimmered its vague echoes, threatening to leave my subconscious mind at any moment – as dreams oft do just as you’re about to wake. Especially the best ones.

It left me cold and terrified as I half opened my eyes, and so I pulled the duvet closer and reached out to touch my wife. Just to make sure she was there and that everything was still as they were before I drifted off some three hours ago.

But when I closed my eyes again, I could still see the images. Quite vividly. And since I found myself an aspiring author, I thought it best to act as I was sure the best authors do. They write down things like these, fading memories of the dream world as quickly as possible in the hopes of capturing the essence of what had conjured the raw emotion while asleep, only to flesh it out later at a more appropriate time.

So I stumbled out of bed, glanced at the clock that said 02:50, remarked quietly to myself that it wasn’t quite witching hour (which was 3am as far as I knew), and took a coke from the fridge. A few sips of its sweetness brought my dry mouth back to life, and a cigarette would follow on the porch outside, as was my unhealthy custom after a night’s sleep – or a few hours in this case. But more than adhering to my usual routine, it was an opportunity to arrange my thoughts; to get the words out so I could get back in bed and savor the remaining time before sunrise.

As I stood puffing, pondering, waiting for the laptop to complete its startup, I wondered if I had had this dream before. And how I would capture the details and prepare a fiction of a fleeting sequence of events that scared me so that I would forego extra hours in bed (which were already a rare commodity with a two and half year old running around). But I had no choice. As it happens with all writers I supposed. When words are lined up in your head like soldiers eager to battle, you have no choice but to let them out and lead the charge yourself – until the blank page is littered with their corpses.

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